March 20, 2015

As I sit on my couch and struggle with what I might write about tonight, I realize that I haven’t articulated for myself what makes writing hard for me.  The writing process is complicated and emotional.  Sometimes thoughts, poems, and stories flow relatively freely; other times, writing is a treacherous climb, a wade through the mud, or a trek across the desert at night.  I have been sitting here for an hour starting and stopping, fighting with my inner censor.  The censor has so many voices–voices that say:

“That’s dumb.”

“That reveals too much.”

“That’s already been said better by so many people.”

“Yeah, that’s a cute memory, but what makes it worth writing about?”

I write and delete.  Write and delete.  I realize I need to acknowledge my own vulnerability and take on that inner censor, but tonight, it’s too scary.

Many times I hear teachers say that kids don’t write because they haven’t had enough life experiences.  That always makes me cringe because I know that all experiences are writing topics. Perhaps it isn’t the lack of life experiences at all that inhibits student writing. Maybe, like me, they have inner censors that are shouting in their mind’s ear. So, perhaps the more important question is, “How do we help kids recognize their inner censor and give them tools to fight back?”  What are some tools for fighting back? Maybe quieting the censor is not even a fight, but a letting go.

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2 comments on “March 20, 2015

  1. mayawoodall says:

    How true, but at times the inner censor won’t leave, will it? Some days are like that–the voice screaming is not the writer’s voice, but the voice of distraction. And yet, kids must produce on demand. No inner censors allowed when the big tests come. Maybe that’s the appeal of slicing daily, knowing that each day I will write whether I feel like it or not. And then, I can relate to the child staring at the blank page. Fighting back, I do that sometimes. Letting go, I do that sometimes. And sometimes I just throw whatever words come my way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. readsomuch says:

    I agree that we have lots of inner censors – writing can show our vulnerable side, for sure. I’ve found that the less I worry about what others think, the easier it is to write. Too bad that’s taken many years for me!

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